Yesterday (14 October), gunfire broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire.
Developments began in the afternoon of 14 October, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that they had shot down an Armenian UAV which was aiming “to carry out reconnaissance flights over the positions of the Azerbaijan Army in the direction of the Fuzuli region”.
The self-styled MoD of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) then reported that six of its servicemen were wounded as a result of gunfire from Azerbaijani troops near Norashen village in the Martuni region. According to the self-styled state minister, Artak Beglaryan, two of the wounded are in a serious condition, but none of their lives are at risk. The statement noted that the current situation was calm, and that the Armenian side had suffered no positional or territorial losses, adding that “the Defence Army commander is carrying out coordinated works with the Russian peacekeeping military command to further discharge the situation”.
For its part, the Azerbaijani MoD confirmed that one of its servicemen, Hamzayev Afgan Bahram, was shot and killed by sniper rifle yesterday (14 October) evening. A statement described the incident as “deliberate provocation” and an “act of terrorism”, carried out by “illegal Armenian armed detachments”. It added that “in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan, decisive steps will be taken to neutralize the illegal Armenian armed detachments that committed the terrorist act and ensure their response before the law.”
A new statement by the Azerbaijani MoD this morning has accused Armenia of violating the ceasefire once again, by using a civilian ambulance with the intent to “commit a terrorist provocation against the Azerbaijan Army Units in the Aghdere direction”. The statement continued: “As a result of the vigilance of the Azerbaijan Army servicemen and the measures taken, the attempt of provocation was suppressed, and the gunmen moving by car were forced to retreat”. The self-styled MoD of the NKR has denied these claims, alleging rather that Azerbaijani armed forces opened fire on a medical ambulance. Azerbaijan has dismissed these accusations.
ArmenPress have reportedly been told by the self-styled foreign minister of the NKR, Davit Babayan, that whilst these incidents have been serious, the prospect of escalation into a full scale war is impossible. “It’s impossible as long as Russian peacekeepers are standing there. We should understand this very well, and avoid spreading panic. War is impossible. And we must understand that it is a provocation by the enemy, and they will resort to such provocations again, because this is their style. This is not something new for us.”